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Culmsee H.,University of Gottingen | Culmsee H.,Heritage Foundation | Leuschner C.,University of Gottingen
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2013

Aim: In order to investigate the relative importance of ecological (habitat specialization) and biogeographical (speciation, geographical dispersal limitation) processes as causes of non-random spatial distribution of tree species in the mountain forests of Malesia, we analysed the elevational change in the taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity of tree assemblages in different biogeographical subregions. Location: Malesia (Borneo, Java, Sulawesi and the Philippines). Methods: Tree inventory data of 12 old-growth forests from a wide elevational range (650-3080 m a.s.l.) were taxonomically harmonized and standardized (50 random draws of 245 individuals each per plot), and the phylogeny of 204 genera was resolved and scaled to its evolutionary origin. The taxonomic and phylogenetic diversities were calculated using effective generic measures, and the diversity patterns analysed by regression, ordination and classification. Results: The primary factor determining the diversity patterns of the tree assemblages was elevation, whereas the influence of region was surprisingly low. This results in common elevational patterns in taxonomic and phylogenetic community structure across western and central Malesia. The major clades of the contemporary mountain forest trees must therefore have evolved before the formation of the Malay Archipelago in its present form (sympatric speciation). Taxonomic richness and phylogenetic diversity exhibited opposite trends with elevation. Generic richness decreased linearly with elevation; the phylogenetic structure of high-elevation forests revealed overdispersion, indicating convergent trait evolution towards higher elevations, whereas the submontane and colline assemblages showed clustering with a considerable number of confamilials. The upper montane forests of Borneo and Sulawesi were characterized by the dominance of Southern Hemisphere conifers, which differentiated them from lower-elevation communities. Main conclusions: Our results indicate that ecological, evolutionary and biogeographical processes (environmental filtering, sympatry and long-distance dispersal) have shaped the contemporary community structure of Malesian mountain forests. Wallace's Line may represent a significant barrier between the lowland tree floras of Borneo and Sulawesi, but this is not true for those at higher elevations. The uniqueness of high-elevation forests in terms of their high phylogenetic diversity and of their unusual structure calls for a high priority in conservation programmes. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Wesche K.,Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Gorlitz | Krause B.,University of Gottingen | Culmsee H.,Heritage Foundation | Leuschner C.,University of Gottingen
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

There is growing concern that biodiversity loss in European agricultural landscapes is having negative effects on functional trait diversity. Long-term studies examining vegetation changes from the period before agricultural industrialisation are however rare. Here, we ask how management intensification and increased nutrient input initiated in the 1950/1960s have altered grassland plant community composition, species diversity and functional trait composition using comprehensive datasets from five floodplain regions (plus one protected reference region) in northern Germany. Sites with available historical relevés and vegetation maps (1950/1960s, 1990s) were resampled in 2008 to facilitate the analysis of a period spanning four to five decades.Plant community composition changed tremendously in all study regions during the 50. year period, which was related to increasing Ellenberg indicator values for nutrient availability. Species richness at the plot-level fell by 30-50% over the period, and losses in functional diversity were equally large. A non-formal comparison with the results from the protected reference study region indicates that the changes may mostly be attributable to local nutrient input rather than to supra-regional climate change. Our results indicate a consistent trend towards much more species-poor communities dominated by mow-tolerant, N-demanding competitive grasses, whereas species with more ruderal strategies, species flowering early in the season and, in particular, insect-pollinated herbs have all decreased. The substantial loss of nectar-producing grassland herbs is likely to have negative effects on the abundance of pollinating insects, with consequences for the grassland animal communities. This highlights the growing need for adequate grassland management schemes with low N input to preserve high-nature-value grassland. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Moffit R.E.,Heritage Foundation
Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics | Year: 2012

The fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is uncertain. Much of the opposition is grounded in popular hostility to expansive federal control over individuals' health care decision-making. But the new law reinforces existing third-party payment, primarily through employers and government programs. This financing already restricts personal choice of health plans and coverage options. Private employers, managed care executives, and public officials make the key spending decisions in health care. Unlike consumers in other sectors of the economy, individuals are mostly passive spectators. Normal market dynamics do not exist, and consumer choice is frustrated. Curiously, public programs, such as the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the Medicare Advantage Program, and the Medicare Part D Drug program, are the main exceptions to the norm. In these programs, individuals control the flow of dollars over the purchase of health plans. In crucial areas such as access to care and benefits, cost control, quality, and patient satisfaction, these programs have a strong record. By realigning health reform with the primacy of personal choice, and building on the experience of these programs, policymakers can expand consumer control through defined-contribution financing. Specifically, Congress can replace the existing tax regime for commercial private health insurance with a national tax credit system, provide generous financial assistance for the poor, and transform Medicare into a "premium support" program. © 2012 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Inc.. Source

Berkowitz C.,Heritage Foundation
Bulletin of the History of Medicine | Year: 2011

The early-nineteenth-century artist, anatomist, and teacher Sir Charles Bell saw anatomy and art as closely related subjects. He taught anatomy to artists and surgeons, illustrated his own anatomical texts, and wrote a treatise on the use of anatomy in art. The author explores the connections among visual displays representing human anatomy, aesthetics, and pedagogical practices for Bell and a particular group of British surgeon-anatomists. Creating anatomical models and drawings was thought to discipline the surgeon's hand, while the study of anatomy and comparative anatomy would discipline the artist's eye. And for Bell, beauty made drawings into better pedagogical tools. Source

Akogun O.,Heritage Foundation
Nursing leadership (Toronto, Ont.) | Year: 2011

The innovation described in this paper was motivated by concern that in Africa, parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs is associated with irrational drug use where health facilities are inaccessible. However, advancement in digital technology, simple diagnostic devices and smart drug packaging inspire innovative strategies. The combination of communication technology, rapid diagnostic tools, and antibiotic and antimalarial medicines can increase access to evidence-based malaria management, reduce mortality and slow the development of resistance to drugs. The author initiated development of a solar-powered device (Feverkit) programmed with user-interactive capabilities and equipped with a detachable laboratory and dispensary for community management of fevers. The operational performance of 10 units of the device was evaluated among 20 nomadic Fulani communities in northeastern Nigeria. A brief introduction to its parts and functions was sufficient for community-selected nomadic caregivers to use it competently for managing 207 fever cases in eight weeks, with a 97% (p=.000) recovery rate. The Feverkit guided the nomads to distinguish between malaria and non-malaria-induced fevers, and thus selectively treat them. Camp communities accepted the device and were willing to pay between US$33 and $334 (mean, $113; mode, $67) to keep it. Public-private sector collaboration is essential for sustaining and scaling up production of the Feverkit as a commercial health device for the management of fevers among nomads. Source

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